Mike Grundy's 'pressure' plan in UFC return

Mike Grundy has vowed to ‘chip away at the soul’ of his opponent in his eagerly-awaited return to the UFC octagon.

Friday, 14th May 2021, 8:11 am
Updated Friday, 14th May 2021, 8:12 am
Mike Grundy outside his Wigan gym

The Wiganer flew to the USA last weekend and is brimming with confidence ahead of his featherweight showdown with Lando Vannata at UFC 262.

He has a strategy of putting pressure on his American opponent, and believes his superior grappling skills – having wrestled on the world stage for England – will come to the fore.

Grundy said: “It looks like he’s okay at grappling and wrestling, but he’s not at my level and I’m confident I win that area.

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“The pressure and dominance I’m going to put on him, I’m going to chip away at his soul and he’s going to definitely crumble. I’m feeling confident I can get the win. I’ve watched his fights and I don’t think he will like the pressure I will put him under.”

Both fights are coming off losses, with Grundy beaten by Movsar Evloev last summer on Fight Island and Vannata defeated by Bobby Green in his last outing.

Vannata, 29, has more experience in the UFC but all 10 of his fights in the promotion have been at lightweight (155lbs), while Saturday night’s contest is at featherweight – 10lbs lighter.

And Grundy hopes his familiarity with the process of cutting weight will also go in his favour.

“He might make featherweight okay because he didn’t seem that big a lightweight, but it’s that mental stress when you cut weight,” said the 34-year-old during a UFC media event.

“I’m used to it, I’ve done it all my career, my wrestling career (beforehand), so I’m used to that side of things.”

A crowd of around 17,000 is expected in Texas for the event which Grundy is predicting will be the best UFC card this year.

Two lightweight contests – Ferguson-Beneil Dariush and Charles Oliveira-Michael Chandler – headline a stacked bill, with Grundy’s fight expected on BT Sports shortly after midnight on Saturday night.

And there will be plenty of his family, friends and supporters staying up to cheer him on.

“It’s a great card, probably the best this year so far,” said Grundy, who won 11 of 12 MMA fights ahead of his victorious UFC debut against Nad Narimani in 2019.

“I’ve had a lot of messages of support, which I really do appreciate. This is a good fight for me.

“I need higher-ranked opponents and good names to move me up the rankings and boost my profile, it’s what I want.”

Dad-of-three Grundy had been due to fight earlier this year but was forced to withdraw when a team-member tested positive for Covid-19.

The Team Kaobon fighter has not stopped training since, adding: “Everything is on point.

I am more than prepared for this fight I feel like I have prepared three times over.

“There’s no stopping me, I am out there to win and get what I fully deserve – it’s my time to shine.”